Monday, September 24, 2012

Letter of the Week: Ss

It is officially the start of a glorious and long awaited two-week break. Since I pretty much got hired a week or so after graduating, I haven't had a chance to really lounge around and do nothing. I'm going to take the first couple days of my break to do just that. Then I'll be out for a week visiting my boyfriend's family in North Carolina. It will be my first time meeting them and my second time visiting North Carolina. (I have aunts that live there). I offered to make home visits to help my students over the break, but I haven't received any call backs in regards to scheduling them from families showing interest. I'll have to get more proactive when I get back from NC.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'd been brainstorming ways to have some nice looking journals for my kinders for a fraction of the price when I came cross this video here. Simple and functional - perfect!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Saying Thank You

Thank you for teaching us.
We love to dance!

When was the last time you wrote a thank you card? Back when I was student teaching I got a beautiful thank you message from my kinder students. I can't describe how incredible it made me feel. Truly, there are few things simpler than taking a couple of minutes to write a genuine little thank you to show your appreciation.

All of the kindergarten classes at my school have been participating in dance for the past five weeks. Tomorrow will be our last dance session before the break. We took some time today to write a thank you note and sign it for our wonderful instructor. I told my students that whenever someone takes time to share something, anything, with us, we have to remember to thank him/her. My students are really excited to give Ms. Christina their note tomorrow. We hope she likes it! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Letter of the Week: Ee

Ahoy there friends! Last week my class roster grew to 21 students and I have one more on his/her way. That means we've reached maximum capacity in Room 13. I can't believe how quickly my overflow class filled up. Well actually, I can, and with it came a whirlwind of new challenges. Having that many new students enroll in the last couple weeks completely threw off my classroom dynamic! Honestly, it caught me a little off guard. I had a very difficult time managing my class last week and struggled to have them follow even the most basic of directions. After careful deliberation, I decided that I'm going to scratch stressing the curriculum this coming week and focus more of my attention on gaining my students' trust and having them trust each other. With all the new kids added to the mix, I feel my students really need to learn to work with me and one another. Therefore, this week we will be doing a lot of community building activities in hopes that this will help set a better tone for our classroom as well as classroom expectations in the future. If you have any good resources or ideas for community building activities I would love to hear about them! I think this is apt timing as we will be on our fall break starting next week. It stinks to lose my kids for two weeks, especially the new ones who are just starting to get accustomed to school, but that's beyond my control isn't it?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kids Say The Darnedest Things

Last Friday, I took advantage of an awesome opportunity to volunteer and be a judge for the K-3 Spelling Bee after school. I was surprised that kindergarteners were allowed to participate, especially this early in the year. Most of my students don't even know their letters yet. As surprising as that was, I was even more surprised at how hilarious some of the answers were.

Judge: Spell 'hat'.
Kinder Contestant: Um, I don't know how to spell hat... but I can spell ball!!

Judge: Spell 'see'.
Kinder Contestant: V... w... x.. y.. Z!?!?!

Gosh, they were so stinking cute! 

First year teacher tip #6 - Show your administration and staff that you care about the entire school and/or community (and not just the students in your classroom) by volunteering your time for various events, school-related or otherwise.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Letter of the Week: Tt

And just like that another week has gone by. I've taught for a little over three weeks now and everyday I love my students more and more. In grad school, one of my professors showed us an activity called unfortunately/fortunately. It might have been called fortunately/unfortunately, but I personally subscribe to the bad-news-first-then-good-news-after school of thought so let's just go with it. You tell your partner one thing that is going not so well and one thing that is going well about your day, week, whatever. I thought I would engage in this activity today. So unfortunately, I'm still a little frustrated with the lack of continuity across subject matter in my curriculum. Fortunately, I'm really starting to get into the hang of getting my lesson plans done much more efficiently! The great thing about kinder is that once you have your routines in place then all you have to do is fill in the activities with new letters or themes, etc. Building the structure that works best for you however, is the hard part. My schedule very closely resembles the schedule that I used when I was student teaching. Roughly speaking, this is what our day looks like.

This week our LOTW was Tt and for the LOTW Art center activity we made Trees and tigers. If you saw my kiddos working this week you would not believe me if I told you just two weeks ago they had trouble cutting and following basic directions. I can't believe how far my students have come! In that sense, they are really letting me know that they are getting ready to start center rotations pretty soon. I'm a little torn because in two week my students will have a two-week vacation for their fall break. Ugh! Hopefully they will still be able to get into the groove of our classroom routines quickly upon return.

T is for tree/tiger.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

That Moment When

Hi friends! Today was a marvelous day of teaching. You ever just get into "the zone"? Well, today I was totally in the zone. I was so nervous about today because my district's superintendent was paying a visit. All of the other kinder teachers were at a systematic ELD training off campus (conveniently enough HAHA) so I was the lone teacher left to represent my grade level. I don't know why, but for as long as I can remember, I've been a creature of validation. I need it. I crave it. I often times can't move forward without it. It's probably why I enjoyed student teaching so much. Both of my cooperating teachers were excellent about providing me with meaningful feedback about my teaching. To a certain degree, I think we all like to hear when we're doing a good job, especially when we are new to something. Wouldn't you agree? I like to hear about things that I'm not doing well too so that I can reflect and brainstorm ways to make myself better. After chatting with my principal after school, I'm pleased to say that the superintendent was very satisfied with his visit including what he observed in my classroom (all FIVE minutes of it, heh). Can I get a WOOT WOOT?!?